Michigan United’s Incoming Environmental Justice Director builds bridges to reduce barriers
A coalition of environmental groups from across the state is ready to launch a campaign aimed at reducing roadblocks that make climate justice difficult in many cities. Since the beginning of the year, Michigan United’s new Environmental Justice Director, Eric Ini has been consulting with individuals, communities and other organizations working on climate justice issues, such as Michigan Climate Action Network, Detroit Environmental Justice Organization, Environmental Law and policy Center and the League of conservation Voters, to present his project and invite them to join this initiative.
“While climate change is a worldwide problem, part of the solution can be found at the state and local level,” said Ini. “For example, many municipalities have housing codes that limit the use of solar panels that could greatly reduce homeowners’ dependence on fossil fuels and shrink Michigan’s carbon footprint.” At the same time, cities that want to implement a carbon neutrality action plan must work around barriers in state law such as the 1% cap on distributed generation.
Ini succeeds Emma Lockridge, who stepped down after accomplishing her goal of securing her neighbors’ ability to move out of the toxic conditions surrounding the Marathon refinery when the corporation finally agreed to a $5 million dollar buy out of their homes after 8 years of campaigning. Before joining, Ini, a graduate of Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland Oregon, worked for Greenpeace where he designed award winning campaigns for the Congo Basin.